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Whither the weather? Climate change and conflict

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  • Nils Petter Gleditsch

Abstract

Until recently, most writings on the relationship between climate change and security were highly speculative. The IPCC assessment reports to date offer little if any guidance on this issue and occasionally pay excessive attention to questionable sources. The articles published in this special issue form the largest collection of peer-reviewed writings on the topic to date. The number of such studies remains small compared to those that make up the natural science base of the climate issue, and there is some confusion whether it is the effect of ‘climate’ or ‘weather’ that is being tested. The results of the studies vary, and firm conclusions cannot always be drawn. Nevertheless, research in this area has made considerable progress. More attention is being paid to the specific causal mechanisms linking climate change to conflict, such as changes in rainfall and temperature, natural disasters, and economic growth. Systematic climate data are used in most of the articles and climate projections in some. Several studies are going beyond state-based conflict to look at possible implications for other kinds of violence, such as intercommunal conflict. Overall, the research reported here offers only limited support for viewing climate change as an important influence on armed conflict. However, framing the climate issue as a security problem could possibly influence the perceptions of the actors and contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Suggested Citation

  • Nils Petter Gleditsch, 2012. "Whither the weather? Climate change and conflict," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(1), pages 3-9, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:49:y:2012:i:1:p:3-9
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dobes Leo & Jotzo Frank & Stern David I., 2014. "The Economics of Global Climate Change: A Historical Literature Review," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 65(3), pages 281-320, December.
    2. Marcus King & Jay Gulledge, 2014. "Climate change and energy security: an analysis of policy research," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 57-68, March.
    3. Stijn van Weezel, 2016. "Communal violence in the Horn of Africa following the 1998 El Niño," Working Papers 201617, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Jean-François Maystadt & Margherita Calderone & Liangzhi You, 2015. "Local warming and violent conflict in North and South Sudan," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 649-671.
    5. Gerdis Wischnath & Halvard Buhaug, 2014. "On climate variability and civil war in Asia," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 122(4), pages 709-721, February.
    6. Giorgos Kallis & Christos Zografos, 2014. "Hydro-climatic change, conflict and security," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 69-82, March.
    7. François Gemenne & Jon Barnett & W. Adger & Geoffrey Dabelko, 2014. "Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 1-9, March.
    8. Exenberger Andreas & Pondorfer Andreas, 2013. "Climate Change and the Risk of Mass Violence: Africa in the 21st Century," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 381-392, December.
    9. Drago Bergholt & Päivi Lujala, 2012. "Climate-related natural disasters, economic growth, and armed civil conflict," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(1), pages 147-162, January.
    10. Hassani Mahmooei, Behrooz & Parris, Brett, 2012. "Why might climate change not cause conflict? an agent-based computational response," MPRA Paper 44918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Stijn van Weezel, 2017. "Communal violence in the Horn of Africa following the 1998 El Niño," HiCN Working Papers 241 updated, Households in Conflict Network.
    12. Richard S. J. Tol, 2016. "The Impacts Of Climate Change According To The Ipcc," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(01), pages 1-20, February.
    13. Gartzke Erik & Böhmelt Tobias, 2015. "Climate and Conflict: Whence the Weather?," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(4), pages 445-451, December.
    14. Solomon Hsiang & Marshall Burke, 2014. "Climate, conflict, and social stability: what does the evidence say?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 39-55, March.
    15. Ole Theisen & Nils Gleditsch & Halvard Buhaug, 2013. "Is climate change a driver of armed conflict?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 613-625, April.
    16. H. Buhaug & J. Nordkvelle & T. Bernauer & T. Böhmelt & M. Brzoska & J. Busby & A. Ciccone & H. Fjelde & E. Gartzke & N. Gleditsch & J. Goldstone & H. Hegre & H. Holtermann & V. Koubi & J. Link & P. Li, 2014. "One effect to rule them all? A comment on climate and conflict," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 391-397, December.
    17. Raul Caruso & Ilaria Petrarca & Roberto Ricciuti, 2014. "Climate Change, Rice Crops and Violence. Evidence from Indonesia," CESifo Working Paper Series 4665, CESifo Group Munich.

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    Keywords

    armed conflict; climate change; security; war;

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